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How do kids learn how to lie.

 
 
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2015 06:33 am
In another thread, I was pointing out that Lying is a necessary social skill. You can not live in modern adult life without knowing how to tell lies that, either to keep your privacy, or to avoid hurting someones feelings, or even sometimes to keep something bad from happening.

Of course, we as parents tell our kids they shouldn't lie. But we ourselves lie and our kids see this. Research shows the average American adult lies 5 times a day. And our kids are with us all the time they see how we interact with the neighbors or with Aunt Beatrice.

I took a look at the research. Kids are capable of intentionally lying by the age of 4. And they learn which are profitable and which lies they can get away with... they are rewarded when they tell lies that we can't detect, but when they tell a poor lie they get punished. Of course by the time we are teenagers we need to lie. It is impossible to get through the social swamp that is adolescence without being a proficient liar.

So how do kids learn this social skill?

Parents aren't honest about lying... so kids can't learn from us (at least not directly). But they do read, and I have been thinking that children's literati

Well I was thinking about the books that I read as a child, and that my children read. Lying is often celebrated in children's books, and many protagonists tell lies that are rewarded. I have been thinking of examples.

- My Father's Dragon (one of my favorite books as a child and a parent), the main Character lies to bad animals in amusing ways to save a captive dragon.

- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The entire book is about a lie being used for a good purpose (and that ends well).

- Harriet Tubman. This is a true historical story where lying was a moral imperative.

- And of course, Harry Potter (where Harry lies, and Dumbledoor lies, and Hermione lies.. sometimes there are consequences and sometimes not).

In my opinion, parents should be honest about lying. Kids won't go far with the message "you should never lie". You don't succeed in the real world believing that. Kids should be able to work through these messy issues openly.

I am glad that at least Children's writers are giving kids a space to work this out.

How did you learn about lying... and how do you help your kids learn?

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HesDeltanCaptain
 
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Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2015 06:58 am
@maxdancona,
While I would agree everyone lies (most don't do it maliciously which is why they might think they don't do it at all,) I like to think it isn't actually necessary so much as something we're simply used to.

"The Invention of Lying" shows a completely honest world, and for that reason think 100% honesty would never work. But I like to think something in the 90 percent range is possible and practical.

Would assume as with most every other social skill, kids learn to lie from tv mostly.

Think parents SHOULD raise their kids with 'you should never lie.' May hinder a career in business, politics, law, well ok pretty much everything, but people admire honesty and rleated traits even if it makes people a load to be around. Smile

Great episode of Babylon 5 where one of the characters (Londo for reference) is granted permission from his emperor to divorce 2 of his 3 wives (emperor asks him to keep one though for state functions.) One's a hot pornstar sorta woman, the other's older and more a Joan Crawford vamp type, 3rd's very blunt and honest about her utter disdain and dislike and full on hatred of him. Smile First two wind up being divorced despite many sycophantic attempts at winning the competition, and when the 3rd asks him why he chose her he answers, "With you, I'll always know where I stand." Smile

In a world full of lies and deceit, I've found the best way to stand out (and really piss people off) is to be honest. If everyone else is lying, the honest guy stands out in sharp relief. Smile
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Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2015 09:23 am
Uh, the biggest lie in all probability is about who gives Christmas presents. And, isn't it interesting that around the age of four, when kids can make a lie, they also often learn that Santa is a lie.

So, who can expect individuals not to lie, when every Sunday a percent of the population is lied to in their respective churches, as to the reason we are all here (pure chance). Get it? Society is based on lies, lies, and more lies. Or, at least nothing that can be proven false.


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